In this turbulent era of #metoo, women from all walks of life are suddenly sounding the trumpet against intolerable, yet tacit assault in their personal lives. No longer silent, women in one accord are collectively crying out against domestic abuse and inappropriate behavior in the workplace. Even among ‘believers’, women are speaking out against misdeeds and misconduct usually associated with the world.
Leading the war-cry for Christians is singer, songwriter and recording artist, Cheryl Fortune. Her experience as a survivor is well documented. But her recent hit song, Fighters, is her very personal story told in first-person account. “…all you want is someone to hear your bleeding heart overflowing with tears…” It’s a compelling story that comes with a silver-lining. BlackGospel.com spoke with Cheryl Fortune about her tale from day-to-day terror to eventual triumph, a testimony too many survivors amongst us may also proclaim and post, “me too”.
Christopher Heron: Cheryl, you’re a very, very talented songwriter. Who are a couple of songwriters you admire?
Cheryl Fortune: Oh, wow! The Winans. I grew up on their music. Their writing is just amazing. I always felt it was ahead of their time. I love David Foster. As for my favorite right now, I am an Ed Sheeran fanatic.
Christopher Heron: If you had to share the mic with another great talent, who would that be?
Cheryl Fortune: That’s a good question. I never had anyone ask me that. I would say my niece who lives in Houston, Texas. She’s a trained vocalist with an old school sound. We’ve talked about it for years. I’ve always wanted to bring her on the road with me. She’s phenomenal. Her name is Kayla Freeman. Just amazing. There’s something about her.
Christopher Heron: Let’s talk about the new album. The project doesn’t sound like a debut project. It’s tight. Your time with FIYA it must have prepared you to be a solo artist. Did you always want to release your own songs or did that inspiration come in the last couple of years?
Cheryl Fortune: It’s so funny. I’m always writing. I’m a big journalist so I write in my journal every day. Sometimes, those thoughts become a song. I definitely believe FIYA prepared me. I’ve always wanted to at least release a solo record and it just never happened, but suddenly everything started falling into place. I didn’t stress about it. I just said, ‘’Okay Lord, if this is something that You want me to do, You’re going to help me and You’re going to bring the right people to be a part of the record. I want You to give me the right message, give me the right words, give me the right vibe.’’ I’m really excited it’s here. When people hear the song, Fighters, they think this whole record is going to be about this survivor, but it’s not. People are going to be in for a surprise.
Christopher Heron: What’s your prevailing message within the album?
Cheryl Fortune: I went through a whole period of healing, sitting with the Lord, taking time with Him, tapping back into a love that was always there. This record represents victory. It represents who I am in life right now. I am also in a place where I enjoy the love, peace, and joy of the Lord. I just want to exude that to anyone who listens to this record. You can see and feel my heart, you understand how much I love God, how much He loves me and you too. And even though we go through life experiences, your life doesn’t have to end there. There’s something greater, there’s something better.
Christopher Heron: It’s no secret. You’re a self-proclaimed survivor of domestic abuse. That’s so real. What’s your word of counsel to other women in similar situations?
Cheryl Fortune: You do need to walk away and seek the necessary help. I also believe in reconciliation. I really do. I believe in reconciliation when it’s about marriage but I also believe that both parties have to get help. The person who committed the abuse has to be willing to take the necessary steps to get help they genuinely need. It’s not acceptable to receive abuse. It’s never acceptable in any form or fashion. No one deserves it. Don’t be ashamed to go to counselling, don’t be ashamed to share with someone what’s really going on. Being a mother with children, it’s very personal for me because what are we teaching our children when we accept abuse?
Christopher Heron: I noticed that in all of your promotions, you shared your testimony without throwing anyone under the bus. Is there a reason why you’ve taken the high road?
Cheryl Fortune: I had to because the Lord told me I had to handle it that way. We don’t want to talk about abuse in the Black community, we don’t want to talk about it in church. But I know that my situation is very unique in that I had to do it the right way in order for it to be effective. Who am I to go and bash somebody for the things that they’ve done? Yes, it was done to me. Yes, it was done to people around me that I loved but at the same time, I’d be contributing negatively to it if I didn’t handle it the right way and that wouldn’t help heal anyone either. I have children that see it everywhere. So, I try to keep it as clean as possible. There are still some things that I have to work through, when it comes to my kids, try to help them understand that everybody makes mistakes. The children have to heal through this, too. So that’s why I took the highroad and I want God’s hand in everything I do.
Christopher Heron: All right. On a lighter note, let’s talk about the music. It’s a real tribute back to the 90s. Is that the music that really sets you on fire?
Cheryl Fortune: Oh my goodness, yes! I love 90s music. And I can still listen to it now. Bobby Brown, BabyFace, all the good stuff. I just wanted to bring that back, a time when we had substance in the music. You remember every single thing about a song. You know what I’m saying? Backgrounds, drops, you’re going to remember all of it. So I wanted to create that again. I was blessed to work with some amazing producers who nailed the vibe. They nailed that whole era and made it perfect. I can’t help but groove to it. I’m so excited. I can’t wait for people to hear it. I hope that they enjoy it as much as I do because it really does take you back to that era. Everything from the vocal production to the lyrics to the music, the groove and the vibe of it.
Christopher Heron: Final question. Is this the beginning of a new journey as an artist or a project you needed to get off your chest?
Cheryl Fortune: Oh, no, it’s the beginning. Music is such a powerful instrument and I enjoy it and I’m blessed to have the gift. I’m blessed and just so grateful that God gave me the gift because it’s been a very intricate part of my healing. I don’t know how many albums I’m going to do but this is just the beginning. We’re going to see. Let’s see what happens.
Source: Black Gospel